Ability of the Nutri-Score front-of-pack nutrition label to discriminate the nutritional quality of foods in the German food market and consistency with nutritional recommendations

Fabien Szabo de Edelenyi 1 Manon Egnell 1 Pilar Galan 1 Nathalie Druesne-Pecollo 1 Serge Hercberg 1 Chantal Julia 1
1 CRESS - U1153 - Equipe 3: EREN- Equipe de Recherche en Epidémiologie Nutritionnelle
UP13 - Université Paris 13, INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, CNAM - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM], CRESS (U1153 / UMR_A_1125 / UMR_S_1153) - Centre de Recherche Épidémiologie et Statistique Sorbonne Paris Cité
Abstract : Background: There is currently a societal debate in Germany concerning the interest to introduce a comprehensive and simplified nutritional information label on foods. Consumer associations and some manufacturers are supporting the Nutri-Score, a summary, graded, colours-coded front-of-pack label (FoPL) adopted by public health authorities in France, Belgium and Spain. The Nutri-Score is using a Nutrient Profiling System (NPS) to define five different categories of nutritional quality (from 'Dark green' associated with the letter A to 'dark orange' with an E). The ability of the Nutri-Score to discriminate nutritional quality of foods was demonstrated in the French context. The objectives of this study were to verify its ability to discriminate the nutritional quality of foods and beverages currently present on the market in Germany and its consistency with German Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG). Methods: Nutritional composition of 8587 usual foods available on the German market collected from the web-based collaborative project Open Food Facts, were retrieved. Data were collected from 2012 to 2019, with regular updates each time a product is scanned again by a contributor. Distribution of products across the five Nutri-Score categories according to consumer-based food groups was assessed. The ability of the FoPL to discriminate the nutritional quality of foods and beverages was estimated by the number of available colours of the Nutri-Score in each food group and subgroups. Results: Overall, the classification of foods according to the Nutri-Score was consistent with German FBDG: foods which consumption is recommended were more favourably classified (e.g. 79.7% of products composed mainly of fruits and vegetables were classified as A or B) than foods which consumption should be limited (e.g. 93.4% of sugary snacks were classified as D or E). Moreover, we observed that the nutrient profiling system underpinning the Nutri-Score was able to display the variability in nutritional quality of foods within the same food groups, with good discriminating performance (at least three colours represented with the Nutri-Score).
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Fabien Szabo de Edelenyi, Manon Egnell, Pilar Galan, Nathalie Druesne-Pecollo, Serge Hercberg, et al.. Ability of the Nutri-Score front-of-pack nutrition label to discriminate the nutritional quality of foods in the German food market and consistency with nutritional recommendations. Archives of Public Health, BioMed Central, 2019, 77 (1), pp.488. ⟨10.1186/s13690-019-0357-x⟩. ⟨hal-02179454⟩

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